What To Do When Social Media Makes You Anti-Social

social media mindfulness.jpg

Like most of you, I'm very familiar with the positives of social media: the ability it gives us to connect with friends and family, to be inspired, to be educated.

But I'm also very familiar with it's dark side. The time-sucking, energy-zapping, endless scrolling, and comparison of your life to other people's highlight reels.

Research is just starting to catch up with the true impact of social media on our life, health, and happiness. 

Social media has been linked to social isolation, depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation.  Im sure you can relate to scrolling in bed when you should really be asleep, the compulsive need to check, the compulsive need to scroll, that heavy feeling of comparison of your Saturday night on the couch to someone else's fancy dinner out?

From both a personal perspective (from my own, lets be honest, sometimes compulsive! usage of social media) and a professional perspective, from the research that I've done; I've identified a few top tips and tools that we can use to ensure social media plays a positive role in our lives and doesn't become a time, energy and mood sucker.

Watch my video below or read on to learn my 5 top tips for managing social media so that you can enjoy it without burnout or distraction.

Here are my 5 top tips!

1) Turn off your notifications.

Constant pop-ups, icons, beeps and buzzes are distracting and zap our attention and willpower. It's so much more calming for your mind to choose when to check your messages or notifications.  

Taking that one step further, when you're not using your phone (like when you're going to bed for the night or concentrating on a task at work), put your phone on airplane mode. Or at least, remove it from sight. This will prevent even subconscious distraction - and boost your mood!

2) Kill your Facebook feed.

This will only work for laptop or desktop Facebook use, but will be super useful if you're the type to flick the 'book open for a hit of distraction during your work day. 

Simply google 'kill newsfeed' in your Chrome or Firefox browser (sorry Safari users, I'm not sure if it's an option for you) and install the plug in. 

Once done, all you'll see on your Facebook is the top banner (with your invites to events, notifications, messages) and the left-hand side-bar (so you can access your groups, etc). But you won't see the news feed. So you can say 'sayonara' to jumping on just to check a quick message and winding up 20 mins later deep in your old school friend's photos! 

Clients of mine have labelled this tip - LIFE CHANGING! 

3) Hide your apps away.

Interrupt the autopilot and constant loop of: open phone > check FB > check insta > check gmail > check WhatsApp, and break the habit your thumb is so ingrained in. 

Put your apps in a separate folder on a separate screen of your phone, so there's that added little step for your thumb and pattern interruption for your brain. 

This will allow you the space to mindfully check in: do you actually want or need to 'do the loop' or are you reacting out of habit, urge, or even addiction? This space will allow you to mindfully respond and use your time and energy in the most beneficial way. 

4) Take a break away from social media.

Try a digital-detox. One of the best ways I've found to do this is to have weekends or full days off. If this seems a bit much to start with for you, then maybe you allocate a few hours of no-phone time.  Or maybe you set a cut off point in your evening after which your phone goes on airplane mode (this will also do wonderful things for your sleep quality and your general health!). Start small and manageable, and just notice how it feels when you do take those breaks.  And notice what else can come into your life in the space scrolling leaves behind.  

5) Schedule time in to check the apps.

This can be super useful. So maybe at 10 o'clock every morning, you check your Facebook notifications and your messages and respond to things. You're scheduling your time in so that it's more mindful and conscious decision as to when and how you use the apps or the programs on your computer, and not doing so mindlessly and reactively.

6) Extra for experts:

Put your money where your mouth is

Take a leaf out of my book and set yourself a social media challenge using www.stickk.com to hold you accountable. You choose the limits and then literally put your money where your mouth is. If you don't meet your goals, your money goes to charity... or an anti-charity!

When you go to bed, leave your phone at the door.

Or, more accurately, leave it outside/downstairs/in another room, on charge and on airplane mode! This means you won't even be tempted to take a peek at your work emails before bed, or check your feed first thing in the morning. You're removing temptation and saving your finite reserves of willpower up for other big ticket items that are sure to crop up in your day. 

And that's all!

I'm very curious as to which one of these five tips might resonate most with you and which ones you're going to try? I highly recommend that you try at least one and let me know in the comments below how you find it! 

Em x

P.S. If you're keen to dive deeper on your social media usage or any other realm of your life that may be holding you back from living your best 'Be More You' life, I offer free 30 minute discovery sessions so you can learn more about what working with me would look like.

Emily Mason